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'Baybank bandit' ATM robberies top list of crimes in '94

By Shang-Lin Chuang

Crime has always been a major concern for the MIT community. The Institute is situated "in a densely populated urban area in which some of the crimes are bound to overlap into the campus area," according to Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. "To think that we can eliminate them altogether is quite unrealistic," she said.

However, on-campus crime for the first part of 1994 substantially decreased in some areas from the previous year. Fewer larcenies, calls for service, and obscene or annoying phone calls were reported. The number of serious crimes has not changed appreciably over the past several years, according to the Campus Police mid-year report.

Theft, traditionally one of the largest crime problems, was particularly bad this fall due to a spate of robberies at automated teller machines. In response to the ATM robberies, which were situated on the fringes of campus or near independent living groups, the Institute has extended the hours of the Lobby 10 Baybank and Shawmut ATMs.

Three robbed by bandit

Eric D. Kupferberg G was robbed at gunpoint on Sept. 23 at a Baybank ATM at 226 Main St. in Kendall Square. After making his transaction, Kupferberg exited the lobby to the right and headed into the isolated Sloan School parking lot. The robber, who was waiting in the lobby, followed him, Kupferberg said.

"I knew that I was in danger," Kupferberg said. He began to run toward Building E56, but the robber "ran and caught up quickly," he said. The robber showed Kupferberg the barrel of a gun, escorted him back to the ATM, and forced him to withdraw the maximum withdraw limit of $500 after finding out that he had only $30.

"No one noticed in the parking lot that my hands were up in the air, wallet in one hand, and money in the other," Kupferberg said. "During the time we were in the lot, two cars drove by. I am incredulous that [the robbery] occurred with a great number of people around. It is only my guess that they did not notice what was occurring in front of them."

Another MIT-affiliated person was robbed in a similar crime four days later at the Baybank ATM at the corner of Third and Broadway streets. The Campus Police did not release the name of the second victim of the "Baybank bandit."

A third victim, Joel P. Johnson '98, was robbed Oct. 7 at the Quality Mart ATM on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street. The robber approached Johnson outside of the Pi Lambda Phi house, where Johnson lives. The robber asked him if he was a college student, Johnson said. The robber told Johnson that because he was a college student, he had a lot of money, Johnson said.

The robber walked Johnson to the ATM and had him withdraw the limit of $500. After handing the money to the robber, Johnson left the store, walked across the Harvard Bridge to MIT, and reported the incident to the Campus Police, he said.

On Oct. 14, Cambridge Police apprehended the suspect in the robberies as he was breaking into a house on Bryant Street, according to Frank Pasquarello, Cambridge Police public information officer.

The robber's face was recorded on video surveillance cameras in the Quality Mart, Johnson said. The pictures helped police to identify the suspect, he said.

The suspect, Willy Dorch, will be assigned a trial date on Feb. 22, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office. Dorch is accused of three counts of breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, armed assault with the intent to rob, carrying a dangerous weapon, three counts of kidnapping, and four counts of armed robbery.